Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another old Childhood Movie

Sorry about my lack of starting the rest of the notes. I think it's something I've been procrastinating on considering it's a new thing to start apart from the white keys. And this has my attention now because I only watched it last night.

The last time I watched Mousehunt was when I was in my early teens, about thirteen. It was a movie my paternal grandparents had when I was younger (it came out in 1997). I remember sleeping over a number of times and watching it before bed with my cousin Jeremy.

They gave me their VHS of it to me at some point early in the last decade, but I never watched it much by that point. Yesterday, even though I still have the VHS, I tried locating the DVD of it and was unsuccessful. When I tried watching it on my VCR - I still have one - it had stopped functioning for the first time in thirteen years. So with no other options, I went the online way and let my adult mind take it apart.

It's my kind of film in terms of comedy thanks to the levels of absurdity almost constantly thrown in. And my kind of absurdity is, get this, limited to a point. Really. I tried watching Airplane! with my mother once. I found the entire thing, which almost everyone thinks is comic absurdity at its most hilarious, silly and ridiculous. Really. I guess there comes a point in the absurd where it looks completely invented and unnecessary and rather childish. Mousehunt has a lot of absurd scenes, but they're built up as a short comedy of errors ending in an absurd, impossible way rather than quick scenes that are really simple gags. For example, main character Ernie chases the mouse into the chimney flue. Lars gets a flashlight when he gets stuck; it stops working while the mouse disappears and opens a gas valve. Lars strikes a match, sending himself flying backwards into a china cabinet and Ernie fire-streaking into the night sky, looping over into the frozen lake. Someone in air traffic control mentions brass instruments and there's a sudden scene of the cockpit transformed into a brass band. Uh-huh.

The film's premise is relatively simple. Two brothers own an out-of-date string factory after their father dies. One could care less and would rather sell it. Turns out their dad left them an old house which turns out to be a missing architectural masterpiece. They need money after one loses his restaurant and the other's wife throws him out. They set up an auction for affluent bidders to buy the house. There's a mouse in the house. It needs to be removed.

The film has its positives and negatives. It builds the humour up very well. There are a lot of extra little moments that are quick but funny (e.g., Ernie is trying to hit the mouse with a broom in the kitchen, and in doing so flips a bowl into his face). Lars' high-pitched voice is something to laugh at now and then. Then again, the scenes are often kind of jumpy, sometimes too sudden. At the end of the film, a ball of string cheese rolls to the two brothers at the end of the belt, and when Ernie notes that it's cheese, they look up and - whoa! the mouse is shown in all its glory - and then out of nowhere the factory is now a string cheese factory, in full operation, with everything basically resolved. The mouse is a taste tester.

The mouse itself is quite a tenacious character, performing a lot of things that are virtually impossible. I mean that in the physical sense, because the mouse is obviously for the film's sake got human-level intelligence. That or the brothers' father's spirit has transferred into it, which has risen in my mind once or twice. What I wonder is how the mouse inserted the end of the vacuum hose into a sewage pipe, or how it took Caesar's remote camera, routed it through tiny holes and over narrow pipes, and tied it to the winch on his van? It couldn't possibly have weighed enough to depress the handle of the device. Then again, it caused one of the most memorable scenes of the film.

It's camera angles that cause some of the best moments for me. Lars' hammer head flies off while he's nailing new shingles on the wall, causing a bucket to fall off the roof onto Ernie. Yeah. The way the camera lazily pans over the edge on a slight curve to look down on him on the ground with the bucket on his head? Man. Caesar being dragged through the floor is pretty funny on its own, but the close-up of the side of his head half-in the floor, moving relentlessly forward, is ridiculously funny. It's such an unusual, absurd scene. It's the kind of thing I could imagine and write, but seeing it is another crazy thing altogether. Add in his weird headgear too.

There's no doubt that the mouse was computer-generated half the time. It changes colour and fur all the time. Otherwise the film has an interesting backdrop. I would think it takes place in the late 1970s (Ernie notes that the house, being built in 1876, is a centennial, so therefore a hundred years old) yet it even says on Wikipedia that it has an 'indeterminate time period between the 1940s and 1970s.' I could see their wardrobe dating from the forties. The acting is pretty good, especially Maury Chaykin and Vicki Lewis. I base that off the way they're both so different from other roles they've done. In Chaykin's case, I think of Twins from 1988. The nine-year age difference aside, Burt Klane and Alexander Falco are not close to the same person even in looks to me. Probably the mark of a good character actor. And as I've noted before, Lewis couldn't be more different from Beth in NewsRadio. It's kind of funny because when I first saw the cast photo of the show - long before I saw the show itself, which I've gotten back into, hugely - I immediately pictured her as a sarcastic, pompous character more in common with Jennifer from WKRP thanks to the April character on Mousehunt (which at that time was the only other place I was aware of seeing her). What kind of gets me is that April seems a lot older than she is with all that greed and pomposity, whereas Beth seems closer to my age with her more playful, quick-witted presence in the radio station. When one of the Belgian hairdressers' hair catches fire, she pulls that satisfied, condescending smirk off perfectly.

To avoid doing what I did with my reviews on Matilda (in which I over-examined things that weren't particularly relevant for a family film as those "things" are usually what make it work) I'm just going to leave it there. It has a healthy amount of the absurd (in that it doesn't go to far for me, it makes some small kind of sense, and yet you get it immediately in the first scene) it pulls off all its storylines all right, the acting is great (I obviously have a bigger thing for redheads than for that type) and it's still great to watch again at my advanced adult age of twenty-three.

Story: B+
Comedy: A
Acting: A-

Red Cloud
"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Direction

I purposely typed in that title to see if you actually thought I was going to write about that boy band put together by that judgmental British record executive that holds court on that American remake of the British vocal competition program. Nah. I wouldn't "go in that direction" on this blog. My review would say "not interested" and "no grade applicable" as I haven't bothered to listen and I'm not going to prejudicially make things up.

It's hundreds of times more serious a topic I'm going to venture into. And for purposes of individuality and privacy, I'm not going in too deep.

It appears that part of the family unit has broken apart. My paternal grandparents had five children. All of them grew up and created families of their own. In my father's case, I came along, and an alternative situation (at the time, and these days not really alternative at all anymore) was created. He continued on and had two other children with his wife, a native of a west African country. These two came along fifteen & thirteen years ago.

There's no internal issue. It's a matter between my father's family and my grandparents plus my aunt, his parents and younger sister, and now I find myself the only connection. My father left for Jordan in February. He's been stationed at the Embassy in Iraq for a couple of years, while his wife and children reside in Jordan. It's a diplomatic post. They've returned to Ottawa for a month's vacation and for my half-brother and sister to see their friends and family, but now, where family is concerned, that virtually just means me, perhaps (maybe) my two uncles and their children, my & their cousins.

This was the year my birthday went on interminably, it seems, because I spent my actual birthday at my maternal grandparents' playing cards with them, and then, weeks later, I went to my paternal grandparents' to have a dinner for the same occasion, which was ruined by the incident that led to this likely never-ending separation. Other than a trip to the Lonestar Texan grille with a friend of mine, which I considered a part of it, I had a final celebration (to my surprise) yesterday at the rental suite my father and his family are living in, yesterday. Dinner and a cake - which I hadn't had in all the prior occasions. I was really surprised.

In the end, I'm just grateful that I haven't personally lost anything as a result of this. I still have a dad. I still have a half-brother and a half-sister. They may never see their grandparents and aunt again, but I still can. It's extremely unfortunate and needless and painful - for both sides - and no doubt it's kind of life-changing. They're heading in one direction - away.

Thank god I've still got them.

Red Cloud
"

The White Keys

Before I go on to the sharps/flats, let me just put all of what I've done here together:

C Major/Minor: A Good Kid/The Intellectual Worrier
D Major/Minor: The Kind & Considerate Friend/Ms. Bored & Mundane
E Major/Minor: Mr. Out-of-this-world/The Disappointed One
F Major/Minor: The Impatient Achiever/The Anxious Recluse
G Major/Minor: Man of Reason & Comfort/Mr. Forlorn Nostalgia
A Major/Minor: The Quiet Nurturer/The Down-on-his-luck Immigrant
B Major/Minor: The Sweet Introvert/The Romantic/Endearing Pessimist
--

None of those articles have the names I've given them right there, but they fit. I think it's pretty interesting to lay all of this down in words because I can see it visually in front of me, organized and proper. And none of that applies to each of their corresponding scales - just the major and minor chords.

Looking at all of that at once, it's obvious all the minors are, if not in some way negative, boring. D, F minor, and B are female while the rest are male. If it seems that the boys outnumber the girls now, it won't stay that way; C#, D#, F# and G# are all feminine, with A# being the only masculine chord to me. So in the end the ratio is actually 11:12 (more girls than boys).

I'm going to begin C# major/minor either tomorrow or the next day.

Red Cloud
"

Monday, July 14, 2014

B Major/Minor

Well, this is the last (seventh) white key note, the last note in the C major scale, before I start on the sharps/flats. This is the note/chord I have quite a crush on.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'I'm Sorry' by The Payolas has bright chords yet talks about a sellout musician. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.


Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Major


Colour: Pale aqua with hints of white and green
Light: From behind, gentle
Spatial Direction: Southeast
Gender: Feminine

B major is listed as "The Artist" in The Signature series. To me, she's the gentle, quiet but bright one. A major was the girl-next-door in its episode, but for me B major fits that image perfectly. She's introverted but friendly, quiet but open and exciting with her closest friends, etc. She's not necessarily "looking for something better," as she is looking for someone suitable and matching. She doesn't have high or impossible standards like the A major in its episode. To me, she's beautiful, open-minded, and contemplative. She's also considerate and very accepting, but again, also introverted and not immediately open to people, similar to A major. She's like D major without the knowing everyone aspect, and could be D major's sidekick or best friend. I don't really know anyone who fits this personality other than the girl I've most associated that note with over the past year thanks to that 'Year of the Cat' song (which made me realize all the other instances she'd popped up when an instrument played that note/chord in previous songs). That's not totally right or true, though, because what my mind has made up of her personality makes up for more of what I see than what I remember in person that was good or obvious. So, no one. For songs, 'Can't Get There From Here' by R.E.M. uses a main guitar riff in the verses based on B major and E major. 'Rasputin' by Boney M. relies on B major throughout the entire song, exemplified obviously in the strings almost constantly. B major is the dominant note in E major, so songs will often go from E major to B major (such as the chorus of 'Rio' by Duran Duran). 'Cosmetics' by Gowan uses a main keyboard riff, during the verses, that goes B major - C# major. B major is sustained quite a bit. The phrase 'girl next door' is used in the song as well.

Minor

Colour: Brown
Light: Dim, more colour
Spatial Direction: East
Gender: Feminine

The Signature Series uses only a couple of pop songs in only a couple of their episodes, the B minor one being an example. It's the "Dark Romantic" and I listened to it second after G minor. My interest in it was such that I couldn't go through each episode chronologically. The song used is 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, which starts on B minor immediately, in the intro.

B minor is the chord I have the biggest crush on. It's so romantically vulnerable. Aside from the CBC production, I've read on Wikipedia that it has a negative view from composers over the centuries. It's seen as 'submissive,' taking events or situations, good or particularly bad, without complaint. I asked my co-worker Brian what he thought of when he heard the chord, and he said the same thing - submissiveness.

I don't see it as submissive, but I do see it as brooding, pessimistic, and fatalistic. She can be hurt without too much effort. On the other hand, she is the most endearing, truthful, caring person of all. She has nurturing instincts similar to A major's. She's not socially out there, and her personality isn't something people will get close to easily, but when she does open up, that care is obvious. She has a pale, unmarked, smooth face which is generally round, and very dark hair. Green eyes. I see my type in girls in this chord, as well as my paternal aunt - who as a teen actually facially fit this type (probably where I got it from). But I get what I think of her personality as well, which isn't so extreme, but can be pessimistic or negative. And considering she looks and sounds virtually identical to my grandmother, she too can fit this chord. Not many pop songs probably use this chord, other than 'Hotel California' obviously. The main verse of 'World Leader Pretend' by R.E.M. alternates between E minor and B minor. I realize I tend to be using the same song titles over and over because when I look at my big list for reference, I find that I don't know the instrumentation for a lot more songs than I thought I did.

Ending this first round, B major/minor is definitely a chord I'd want to date and be with. They're both appealing to me extremely, and minor is just so beautiful and amazing. I just want to make her feel perfect. It's my natural inclination as an A major chord.

Red Cloud
"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Major/Minor

This is a nice chord, one of my favourites (along with Bm/min, Gm, Dm, C#m, Emin and A#m). Of all the chords, sharp/flat, major and minor, this is the one I peg myself as.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'I'm Sorry' by The Payolas has bright chords yet talks about a sellout musician. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.


Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Major

Colour: Grass green. Particularly my memory of the green grass in the courtyard from my childhood in Parkwood Hills.
Light: From behind. Moderately lit - not bright nor dark.
Spatial Direction: East, typically.
Texture: Hard to describe. Not "grassy." Same as the pixels on our old TV (mother bought it in 1986). But horizontal as those pixels were more rectangular-shaped, vertically.
Gender: Masculine

On The Signature Series, A major was feminine and portrayed as the bouncy, cute, sweet girl-next-door. You'd be charmed by her, but she'd always be looking for someone better, while on the move. The episode called it the "willow-the-wisp."

To me, A major is a shy, but bright person. Bright as in, he's not sad or down, but while he can have negative inclinations, he'll put a smile on his face more often than not. He has a mildly adventurous vision of things but tends not to actually be too adventurous in real-life - he's more of a dreamer. Very grounded, and thinks in concrete terms. He's not a leader, but he's also not much of a follower, tending to be more of an independent. He can be stoic - he often looks that way - but underneath he has a lot of hidden sensitivities that just haven't had a chance to come out as the right person to see it hasn't come along yet. He has a very strong sense of emotion and feeling, but it doesn't always show easily. One thing he does know, though, is that when he pairs up with someone, friend or more, that person will get the most consistent help, advice, and care. He cares about their well-being. He's quiet, but he has an endearing quality that's hardly matched. I tend to see myself as A major because I am similarly quiet and stoic-looking most of the time, but in my heart my close friends deserve best. While I may not have had a real girlfriend before (yeah, yeah) the one out west knows very well how immediate I tend to be with my encouragement and caring positivity. I know that making those I care about is what fulfills me, and that's A major. The verses of 'Steal my Sunshine' by Len start with A major (and end on B major). 'I Ran (So Far Away)' by A Flock of Seagulls, while not using the chord in particular, mostly stays on A throughout the whole song. 'Radio Silence' by Blue Peter starts on and remains mostly on A. 'Magic' by The Cars starts on A as well. I first felt that I was similar to A major thanks to another Cars song, 'You Are The Girl,' which has an obvious keyboard/bass bit where both just sustain an A for a second or two. I saw myself perfectly - I had a hard expression on my face, of waiting for an answer on something exciting. Like the question had been "are we taking this trip together?" and it had been to a girl. It's a good chord.

Minor

Colour: Brown/green
Light: From behind, but very dim
Spatial Direction: East, northeast
Texture: Smooth
Gender: Masculine

A minor was the "Faded Beauty" on The Signature Series, the older woman who'd let life pass her by but never found a partner (she never settled - she could be the future version of the girl-next-door, having never found anything 'better.')

A minor is like the immigrant who came to this country as a refugee, and has as a result lived a displaced, hard life. It's not uncommon for him to bring up how difficult it had been for him years ago, coming to this country with only twenty dollars in his pocket, establishing himself, starting a business while fretting over relatives still in Germany or Hungary, wherever. I got this image and personality the first time I played A minor as a triad, each note separately. This was after I'd played the sunny-by-contrast D major as a triad. I saw a balding barber, short with an apron, bowing, looking down in front of his shop on the road. This is what he has to deal with, the trials of this life, the hardships, the difficulties. Taking away the immigrant scenario (as A minor isn't specifically an immigrant but a personality) he is the kind of person who is very aware of his disadvantages and very set in them. He knows what he can and can't do. He's very cautious financially. He's accepted that life is this way for him, and he can't change. He knows he's at some sort of disadvantage, but that's his life and he just has to deal with it. As a result he has a very subdued personality. 'Echo Beach' (yes, that song again) in particular uses an A minor chord during the verses. 'Losing my Religion' by R.E.M. uses mostly minor chords, starting each verse in A minor. I don't know who to think of that would match this chord - any refugee in North America from the 20th century maybe? Those who came from difficult childhoods? Maybe my deceased old friend Myles, who decided for himself that he wouldn't have mattered or gone anywhere in life, and ensured that was a reality - though that's a bit of an extreme example.

A major is a shy, seemingly stoic, but deeply caring and meaningful chord, A minor knows his disadvantages and points them out, living them as reality. Either way, they're both good chords, and work well with D major/minor; A major is the dominant chord of D major (A is the fifth note played, completing D major/minor) so it's common in pop music for A to be the next key or note after D. They'd have an awesome relationship, those two personalities, and while I do like D major a lot, my personal focus really seems to on B major/minor - which I'll do tomorrow. I wonder if I should try doing a relationship compatibility chart, as Am would be compatible with Dm & Bm/Bmin. Dm would be compatible with Am, Gm, & Cm. But that's a project for another time.

Red Cloud
"

Friday, July 11, 2014

G Major/Minor

G is the fifth chord in the C major scale, so I'm almost there. After B, I'll start with all the flats/sharps.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'I'm Sorry' by The Payolas has bright chords yet talks about a sellout musician. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.


Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Major

Colour: Golden Brown, but a deeper, warmer tone than F minor. The colour of mashed turnips.
Light: Dimmer, autumn light, later in the year, late in the afternoon.
Spatial Direction: East
Texture: Syrupy
Gender: Masculine

I unfortunately mixed the episode of G major in the Signature Series with F major yesterday. G major is referred to as the "trusty sidekick" - exactly how I described it in the F major article. I probably missed the F major episode altogether and saw the title as referring to the same thing.

G major is comfortable. He's always been laid back, easy-going, and kind. Though D major would have a great relationship with A major, she'd get along equally as well with G major. I tend to picture a grandfatherly man who has young grandchildren and a nice house full of big rooms and adventure for the children. He's wise and down to earth, in a way that C, F and A major would be, but not necessarily always. He's the mediator, the level-headed reasonable person. I'd put my own paternal grandfather in this chord, especially with his past career as a diplomat, which fits the 'man of reason' and gentle kindness perfectly. G major makes me actually think of Thanksgiving with its colour, the autumn, the late afternoon sunshine, the colourful trees and the food you'd find at a Thanksgiving dinner, like pumpkin pie and turnips, etc. The pie and the turnips really form the colour of the major chord for me. I don't really find a lot of pop music begins (from the beginning) on G major, though the chorus of 'Not Home Today' by Madness relies on that chord as well as a sustained second version of it on the piano. G major is played and sustained on the guitar during the chorus of 'Echo Beach' by Martha and the Muffins (before up-stroking twice on D major). The chorus of 'Major Tom' by Peter Schilling (not David Bowie) begins on G major (and goes to D also). All of the choruses I've just mentioned go from G to D. D major is the dominant chord in relation to G major - the chord itself consists of G, B and D, D being the final and fifth note away from G, so its contributing pitch to the chord is the dominant one as it's five steps above - so it makes sense that these choruses would go from the root to the dominant chord. G major is just kind and comfortable and easy to get along with.

Minor

Colour: Traffic light yellow
Light: Afternoon, shone on from the right in front.
Spatial Direction: South East (I look at it more as west though, hence the light from the right)
Texture: None
Gender: Masculine

The Signature Series listed this as 'The Contrarian,' someone who was always on hard times. G minor was actually the very first episode I listened to. Struggles along.

This is more like the guy who does not like goodbyes. He's melancholy in his yearning for people he doesn't see. He also has a self-fulfilling prophecy problem, wherein he worries until the source of those worries comes to pass, and then he accepts that while feeling sad that his old friend moved away. He lives in the past a lot, remembering good times with people, and that makes it hard for him to move on. G minor has similarity in sound and colour to F minor, but brighter, so that while he's a similar colour, I see him in a southeast direction when not applying context to him, which I tend to do. Usually I think of 'Misunderstanding' by Genesis when I think of this chord, as it immediately follows A minor, giving me that west direction and traffic light yellow. Otherwise it also features (in its proper melancholic context) in 'Our House' by Madness, the second chord played after C major in the verses, and the final chord played in the Dm-Amin-Emin-Gmin chorus. You can really hear its forlorn sadness there, because it sounds reminiscing of the past. I can't really think of anyone I ever knew or know that was like that other than students in my classes during high school that didn't do the work, worried about it, and still didn't do it, and failed. But think of those fictional characters on television who show up in one episode as an "old high school friend" or "old college roommate" of the main character. Those one-off characters stereotypically spend the episode reminiscing or playing childish jokes on the main character, having never grown up or moved on from those fun times. Then it turns out that they are simply melancholy and sad that the best days are over. There's your G minor.

Root Note


I stopped referring to the root note in my other articles because it largely gives me similar attributes (trimmed down) of the major chord, but I want to mention it here as a low-end version. What I mean is that I'm talking about these chords as they are played just to the right of Middle C (or Middle C in C major/minor's case) so in the middle of the piano, not high up or low down. Obviously every colour and usually texture changes as you play A C or a D or whatever an octave higher, or two octaves higher or lower. I wanted to outline that G as a note on its own, and lower (like on a bass) really shines out the 'down-to-earth' trait. It's super reasonable and level-headed. It's the most objective personality in the room. I first noted that when I heard it played low in 'Where's the Love' by Hanson (one song that does start on G, usually higher on the bass, but now and then during the song, quite low).

Looking forward to doing A major/minor. I've already talked about it a little in the past so it should be interesting to delve deeper.

Red Cloud
"

Pure Bliss

I'm interrupting my ongoing chord personality series for this topic that I'm riled on at the moment.

Is it often that pure bliss, pure euphoria, pure happiness is achieved?

I had a bit of a lengthy talk with my mother earlier about how my synesthesia works, because she's putting together a manuscript on her perspective of raising a son with Asperger's and synesthesia - with my input and response within the finished thing. It wasn't especially difficult explaining what I see and how I see it and why I see it as it was trying to get someone else to understand.

I guess you can't talk musical notes and scales and thirds and fifths and whatever to those who don't study music, or listen to a song and dissect it immediately. According to my mother, most people don't even listen to most of the instruments but rather everything at once with a focus on the lyrics. No paying attention to how anything sounds, just that it sounds good in general.

Listening to music is one thing, trying to explain how I interpret and comprehend verbal speech, reaction and thinking is another altogether. When you say something to me, if the word is a simple one, it might visually appear in my mind as written, but more often than not it's translated into a raw form with texture, direction, and colour mostly specific to the speaker's voice. And nothing stays the same because you don't say something again in the exact, precise tone of voice and inflection and pitch as you did the first time so the result is mildly different. That's why music is simpler, because it's a recording. You hear everything in a song the same as you did the first time. I pick up differences instantaneously.

I tried using music as an example. I used 'World Leader Pretend.' I tried simplifying it by only playing hardly a second of the beginning, which is the guitar playing E minor. Just that E minor, nothing else. I asked her what she thought when she heard it. She said, "the beginning." The beginning of the song. What did I see? The surprised neediness and yearning of the E minor chord. The resultant synesthetic backdrop. I played her the transition to B minor. She didn't even notice the way the notes bounced around D and F#, just that it ended on B (according to me). Those notes all occur within a second or so. You see how minutely I pick out things.

By the end of the whole talk, she couldn't understand how I could have such a complicated mind and perspective. The sound of one's voice, the synesthetic forms of words and speech and comprehending them, the half-second long pieces of music I get entire personalities, stories, feelings, and ideologies out of. It just works. I do ignore a lot of things, of course - the backdrop of texture and colour coming at me from ambient noise is just background filler, like the background of a drawing, and the mental comprehension of speech takes as long as anyone to hear, translate, comprehend, and respond - less than a second, depending on what is said.

I did ascertain that virtually everything gives me a positive synesthetic feeling, particularly music or sounds I like, and that the personalities I see are more created by my mind than who they really are - and if they turn out in reality not to be who they are in my mind, I just retain some nice image anyway, most of the time. But then there's the pure bliss - something I managed to achieve a short while ago.

It's that state where everything is so sky-high, so perfect and precise and right. You feel good all over, euphoric, joyful. And all I did was take that part of 'Roam' I like so much, and slow it down in Audition without altering the pitch.

I used to feel a similar way when I slowed down 'In the City' but not nearly as much. Then there was the 'Wouldn't it be Good' song by Nik Kershaw, with the keyboards and bass. That did give me quite an amazing feeling. Here, it was the intonation, inflection, and pitch of the lyric 'wilderness' - precisely on the 'ness' - that gave it to me perfectly.

My cuing into the G the guitar plays (in place of the A) in that ending refrain really boosted it as well because the G sounds a lot more like it's on to something really exciting. You've got your anticipation in it. Slowed down, it suddenly gave me a direct image of that familiar face, looking kindly on, also anticipating perhaps - and then the intonation of the 'ness.' Pure nirvana right there.

It's such an awesome thing that I'm grateful for having. My physical reaction was my hitting my head against the wall behind it, in a sort of jolt of glee. What a high.

What a brilliant high.

I'll get on G major/minor tomorrow.

Red Cloud
"

Thursday, July 10, 2014

F Major/Minor

F is one of those notes, like C and B, where the white key on a piano isn't separated by a black sharp/flat key from the key before it, E, yet only proceeds a half-step higher, one semitone. As I noted, I'm following C major - which uses only white keys and has no flats or sharps, which I think is unique to that scale. A major scale's progression has two half-steps in it, one on the third and another on the seventh steps. F is the third key from C (this is the fourth article on a note including C) so it all works.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - both 'Heart and Soul' (T'Pau) and 'Crying Shame' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad or yearning lyrics, one about a distant relationship, and the other about a failed, betrayed one.


InversionsThe thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Major

Colour: A paler golden yellow, similar to perhaps McDonalds fries.
Light: From the left, afternoon sun.
Spatial direction: East (on their own I think all of them are generally east)
Texture: Lined texture in a leftward slant downwards.
Gender: Masculine

I'm not sure I watched the episode on F major in the Signature Series, but it labels it as the 'perfect companion,' which I remember hearing about. I recall the narrator likening it to famous sidekicks like Robin from Batman, or Ron Weasley out of Harry Potter.

This guy is not nearly as high up as E major would be. In fact this may go to show that majors aren't always super positive just as minors aren't always super sad. This guy is not particularly negative, but he can be overly focused on things he has to do, things he has to get done. He has to get somewhere, keep moving, he's somewhat impatient. He doesn't like beating around the bush, but he isn't cold either. He's probably more like the nerdy type, but not in a geeky way, just in his choice of activities - the gifted program, the Reach For the Top club, etc. He's interested in computer-related careers like programming or development and can be friends with C major, who is also down to earth and bright. The only big downfall is his impatience. I should note that C minor is the one who makes up issues and worries about failing, whereas F major doesn't, he's just starved for time, has to memorize binary code and the periodic table, etc. I think if I could pick an astrological sign to align with this chord's personality, he'd be a capricorn. Of the few songs I can think of, 'Go For a Soda' by Kim Mitchell relies heavily on F on the bass during the verses (F and E) and 'Enid' by BNL starts on F at the beginning of each main verse. I can think of several different people I've known in the past that applies to this personality very well - such as an old 'friend' I had in high school who was particularly pompous and exclusive, that girl I had a long-distance 'relationship' with out west (she once skipped class to online chat with me and then immediately chose to study over that altogether) and my cousin Jamie, who is hoping to enter medical school soon. All academic or studious types, all obsessed with the work they have to do.

Minor

Colour: Golden brown/yellow, as if those fries were overcooked. Maybe some white as well.
Light: Same as Major, afternoon light from the left
Spatial direction: East
Texture: Fluid-like.
Gender: Feminine

This is the only chord in which the minor is feminine. The rest all have the same gender between minor and major. I don't believe I watched the episode on this one, but it listed it as "the fighter."

This was a girl born with anxiety. I tend to think of her as a frightened, perhaps even traumatized older woman. Very likely reclusive. She's the one who had a terrible time in high school, who had literally no friends and was an outsider. Maybe she was picked on as well, and she no doubt had anxiety issues, perhaps social as well as general. Unfortunately she took every mean thing directed at her to heart, so she ended up working alone in a tiny cubicle at a temp agency in her prime doing the blandest things until she inherited a lot of money, went home, and stayed there. She has nephews and nieces that she enjoys seeing but she's still quirky and obviously uncertain all of the time. She has irrational fears that prevent her from really getting out there, which is unfortunate because she doesn't have a bad character and has her own beauty. Her self-image and view of people and the world is tender, which was likely caused and helped by her mean-spirited peers in school. Hardly any confidence. Thankfully I can't really think of anyone I knew who was like that, other than a girl in a class I had this past semester who was quiet and extremely tentative, and a few fictional characters I've read in books - such as Nora Devon and her aunt in the Dean Koontz book Watchers (my second-favourite book of all time). I have no songs to offer here. I don't think many use that chord unless they're a really painful or sad song. I tend to find that F major or minor in general tend to be used within a song but not to start it or direct it, or end it because it's one of those chords that sound anticipating of the next change (the whole impatience thing).

Well, either late tonight or around tomorrow, I'll write up on G major/minor.

Red Cloud
"

E Major/Minor

Even though it's after 2 in the morning, I'm going to start my write-up on E major and minor. This is quite a high-up chord.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:

There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.

Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - both 'Enid' and 'No Rain' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad or yearning lyrics, one about a failed first relationship, and the other about social exclusion, lack of common ground.

Inversions
The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Major

Colour: Bright Red tinged with pink
Light: From behind, gentle but bright, cool colour temperature (e.g. florescent)
Spatial direction: On its own, East
Texture: kind of grainy, like sand, but fine
Gender: Masculine

The Signature Series portrays E major as a basic prince charming character. Bright and happy and gentlemanly. The bird at the top of the tree, singing his heart out.

E major from my point of view is probably the popular kid in school who is part of most of the athletic teams. Excessively positive and engaging. My perspective is similar to the CBC program here, though I think most would agree that it's a bright chord. The personality is extremely outgoing. Whereas D major is kind and friendly and has a social group and consideration reserved for everyone, E major takes it to the next level. He would be the bombastic counterpart, the leader of the pack. Very extroverted and very positive. The positivity really shines through - I could relate E major to the Chris Traeger character on Parks & Recreation, who is bombastically positive, over-the-top about everything, and very conscious of his health, as well as a former co-worker of mine named Marcin who always approached things in an engaging, positive light. 'Rio' by Duran Duran starts in E, and while no particular chords are used in the chorus, it's obvious it would be E major because of the bright sound altogether. 'Roam' by the B-52's starts on and uses E major on the guitar for the majority of the song. Although I already used 'No Rain' as an example for the D major article, the song actually begins on E major for the guitar - then goes to D major. Two bright, sunny majors played one after the other.

Minor

Colour: Burgundy with brown and pink mixed in
Light: Afternoon sunlight from behind
Spatial direction: Northeast
Texture: A mix, with slight parallel lines.
Gender: Masculine

E minor was the kind of guy who told amazing stories and wanted to be the centre of attention but otherwise had nothing else to offer, according to the narrator on the Signature Series. That was an interesting characterization.

Mine, however, is a little more unsatisfied. He's ready to see defeat in things. I often see him surprised, with disappointment. Yet another failure or miss. He's not despairing, though, because he's always surprised at his failures, as if he had confidence and hope, so he's not down and out. He's just unlucky. Unlucky and at some sort of disadvantage or another, with some yearning. And he's not the kind of person who really wears his feelings on his sleeve, either. On the Signature Series, B flat minor was described as "the wounded man" and I'd like to take that characterization and apply it here. If you listen to the narration on that episode, it very closely fit what I'm saying here. Not fully of course, but close. I see it as wanting more, needing more. Impatient at times. Not satisfied. As I mentioned in my post about the R.E.M. song 'World Leader Pretend' - which heavily uses E minor on the main parts of the song - I somehow saw my father in it. I don't think my Dad applies to the wounded man characterization, but I must somehow allude it to how he sees me or something because I see him sharp and clear. Maybe I do somehow see something hidden in his persona or his true feelings no one would notice or realize or see but himself. Though this is a masculine chord to me, it can apply to women as well (these are, after all, just personalities I'm writing up) and I think I can apply my paternal grandmother - my father's mother - to it. In terms of how she almost always lectures about something or other that needs improvement, in my case anyway. Never good enough most of the time, eh? But I'm not going far with that.

My eyes are killing me so I need to get to bed, so that will be it for this chord.

Red Cloud
"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

D Major/Minor

Moving up a whole step, I'm doing D major and minor today. If I can finish this post before I'm due for work anyway.

Notice I'm following the C major scale here; no flats or sharps. I'll be doing those after I do all the white keys. Technically, and this just makes this confusing for no reason, I could be doing nothing but flats or sharps - D is E double-flat, C is B sharp, and so on - but there's no point in assigning those names (which really are used in music for various reasons, and not often).

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous post, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:

There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.

Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - both 'Steal my Sunshine' and 'Is She Going Out With Him?' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad lyrics, both about forlorn romance.

Inversions
The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Major
Colour: Solid Pink
Light: Lit full on with mid-morning sun, or lit from behind and above by whiter afternoon sun when heard on its own.
Texture: The slightest hint of squares you see in a screen.
Spatial Direction: East, southeast.
Gender: Feminine

D Major is almost unanimously viewed as a bright chord of 'glory.' Violin music endorses it fully because the instrument is naturally tuned well to it, which on Wikipedia describes the resultant sound as "especially brilliant." The Signature Series portrays D major as a business-like woman who charms everyone around her with her winning attitude and smile, and goes to a gym.

D major for me fits in with most of what other composers over history think of it. It definitely is bright. It's happy. She is a woman who looks at everything on the bright side and views the best in people. She isn't overly, hugely bombastic about her positivity, nor is she the most popular girl at work or school, but she's well-liked by her peers. She attracts people with her gentle kindness and natural consideration for them. She has dark hair, a round face, and can apply to my own type. The real-life person I think of in describing this chord is actually the original "In the City" person. The two sudden notes on the organ brought her to my mind because I saw sudden positivity, a smile, her personality. I don't know her anymore unfortunately. D major is just a simply kind and positive chord, who is happy on the outside and probably at peace with herself on the inside. The chord features heavily in most pop songs. Ones I can think of off the top of my head include 'No Rain' by Blind Melon (which has lyrics of yearning and exclusion) and perhaps 'Something or Nothing' by Uriah Heep, which begins in D major.

Minor
Colour: White with hints of aqua
Light: Dim white light from a cloudy day
Texture: Slight vertical line pattern
Spatial direction: South
Gender: Feminine

Before this goes where you might think it does, not every minor is necessarily sad. Others are angry or anxious, or dull. D minor is not sad to me - but rather just slightly mundane, dull, and kind of cold. She looks at things with much less enthusiasm, as she doesn't see as much point to them as major would. It's a cloudy winter day and she has to do some shopping. Meh. The Signature Series describes it as a femme fatale, and assigns similar cold characteristics. I can't really think of anyone who fits that proper characteristic except for perhaps my old manager at work, who was always disinterested in things and short. If you said anything to her, she would never fully hear you and you'd get a loud "what!?" Not very approachable, but not necessarily unhappy. Just mundane and probably unsatisfied.

I won't bother writing out the root note because all the root notes I find tend to just emulate to a lesser extent the same characteristics of the major chord. I also have five minutes to get from my Mac in the basement to the punch clock at work with socks and steel-toed boots on. So I'll leave it there.

Red Cloud
"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

C Major/Minor

As I wrote earlier (late last night), I'm starting a series of articles about each chord, major and minor, thought not its scale. I'm not yet perfectly familiar with the minor scales yet (harmonic or melodic or natural) so I'll just keep it simple and stick with just the chords and root notes. I get a simpler synesthetic reaction and personality, etc. with the basic chord or note than the range I get with, well, a range of notes/harmonies in a scale with their context.

There are seven regular notes in music, aligned with the first seven letters of the alphabet: ABCDEFG. However, because it's the easiest to learn with your fingers in a natural position (and it's considered the tonal middle of the piano, and piano is generally the main instrument musical theory is usually practiced or learned on) everything starts with C, or middle C. CDEFGAB. Then you have the flats and sharps, which is just the same note a semitone higher/lower, with a little sign next to it (#/b). I will be starting with C.

A note on major/minor:

There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.

Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - both 'Steal my Sunshine' and 'Pumped up Kicks' use upbeat, bright chords mixed with sad or threatening lyrics, 'Steal my Sunshine' about forlorn romance and 'Pumped up Kicks' about a kid that wants to shoot up his peers at school.

Inversions
The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


So on to C.

Major

Colour: Golden yellow
Light: Lit from behind, afternoon sunlight. Like looking through a bottle of apple juice held up to the afternoon sun, but not harsh.
Texture: Like a grain field is embossed very slightly into it, lines of grain stalks. Depends.
Spatial Direction: Depends on context in music. Usually east.
Gender: Masculine

On that Signature Series, the narrator describes the chord as 'innocent' and ascribes both male and female pronouns. It's reserved for the final episode.

I don't really have too much idea on physical appearance, but C major is a male, boy or man (age doesn't really matter in my characterizations) and could possibly have bright blonde hair. He's a positive go-getter, studious but not geeky, good-looking. Moves through the days easily. In my perspective of him, I could place my cousin Tom in this chord. I'm thinking of known music that I like that uses this chord a lot, and I end up with 'Our House' by Madness. All the verses start with C major, and the rhythm in which it's played accentuates that 'moving through the days' feeling. He's delightful and bright, but down to earth. Very simple.

Minor

Colour: Pale, milky yellow
Light: In front, shined on it, white florescent light.
Texture: Slightly grainy.
Spatial direction: Depends, but usually east.
Gender: Masculine

The Signature Series described it as a male adult misanthropic genius that hates error and values only intellectualism and knowledge, yet is awfully lonely.

C minor is a depressed, anxious guy who perhaps does keep to his own intellectual games, like chess or studying for class in university all while worrying about whether he'll pass. He's pessimistic and has a head of dark hair. He longs for a closer friend, or a girlfriend, but is too fatalistic to really keep anyone for long. He's kind of similar to B minor, but they wouldn't work out because that combined negativity would only contribute impatience and dullness to a relationship where both would work against the other. He's also skeptical. He's the kind of person who might invent problems in his head, or animosity from other people. I think of someone I knew in my prof. writing class last year, though his hair colour changes all the time so I don't know if it's dark. I can't think of any song that uses a C minor chord, at least at this moment.

Root Note

As the root note, I have much less dynamics to hear so I largely just get the yellow colour/texture, plus most of the characteristics of the major chord.

Well, that's all I have to say really. I'm pleased I was able to think of real people I know or knew in the process, because I think that's neat and the Signature Series did the same thing, though using celebrities and fictional characters. I may do D major/minor today or tomorrow.

Red Cloud
"

Pretend to Romanticize

The other night, I decided to try and give R.E.M.'s entire album Green (1988) a listen. It's on YouTube in its entirety, so I gave it a go. Most were all right, some were only okay, others I knew, and one stood out completely.



At first glance - in terms of reading the title - I assumed it was referring to or mocking the then-U.S. government and its leader, George H.W. Bush. (the album was released in America intentionally at the same time as the election to provide fans or would-be voters their criticisms of Bush). It might still be intentionally doing that, but I'm not sure because the lyrics seem to be more about someone who plays games in which he is at war on himself. I'm not really too great at reading between the lines all the time.

It's the music that I tend to romanticize, and extremely. That's what stands out to me overall. Of course, with me, you can bet that I'm doing that because the song uses E minor and B minor as its main progression, at least during the main choruses. R.E.M. uses minor chords in a majority of their songs, which can give them quite a longing or forlorn feel to them. But E and B always work brilliantly together, and I peg them as quite romantic. I've probably said this dozens of times here.

It's not just the two notes/chords in the song, it's also how they're played, on the bass anyway. The procession is generally E, EE, D-E-D-F#-E-D-B. The acoustic follows along exactly the same. Synesthetically I see what sounds like effort and dabbling and stress followed by a reward of endearment, thanks to the bass and guitar bouncing around E and D, going up to F# and winding down, and ending on B (the endearment). That endearment is conveyed by the person that was stressed and all over the place putting that effort in. It's the same as going to lengths to fulfill a wish or a simple request or favour for that person you love, even if she didn't really think it was urgent or much, but you want to make the effort anyway to show that resulting endearment. And it's not "I'm going to go to lengths to help you on whatever it is you want to do in order to keep you with me," it's "I'm going to go to the end of the world and back for you because I love you, and you're all I care about."

The verses are just as bright and lovely, with a procession that goes D-G-C-D. A nice piano part plays during this at one point, never chords but likely the notes of those chords, so broken chords. Completing the whole thing, the beauty fulfilled, are the castanet clicks throughout. I always find them kind of romantic (though it took me until an eventful Friday evening at my paternal grandparents to figure out what they're called) and they're prominent in 'You Don't Know What I've Been Thru' by The Tenants. That song also has a prominent B in it. Neither song has any Spanish influence other than the castanets, which make them all the more obvious and unexpected and appealing.

I don't know if it was that Friday night or not, but the song made me see my father in the E minor, particularly from the acoustic guitar. It's the first guitar sound you hear when the song stars, and the last. I find E minor (on acoustic guitar particularly) makes me think of someone languishing in need or disappointment, unsatisfied, wanting more. I don't think my father really does embody that, in general personality traits anyway, but I might be seeing that as a personal reaction to me, which is a psychological thing my mind has created thanks perhaps to his parenting style and attitude towards me over the years. In other words, perhaps I think my father looks towards me and has those emotions. E minor. This is particular to acoustic guitar as opposed to piano or electric guitar because an acoustic's strings are more subtle and you're striking more strings than you are depressing piano keys, so there's more resonance and harmony involved. E minor is the simplest guitar chord I know - in fact, you are literally only holding the A and D strings down on the same fret, playing E and B together as a result. E and B again. We've come full circle.

This mixture of E, B, D, G, etc. plus the gentle acoustic, lazy electric guitar, and clicking castanets, creates quite a romanticized feeling and image for me. Stipe's vocals are also easy and intriguing, and I like the register his voice is in - not too high and not too deep. It kind of makes me think of a Western thanks to the instruments and style, but just lovely. There are subtle instrument parts and backing vocals (best heard if you listen to it quietly) and it's not too layered, so the production is good. You know how there are songs that are over-produced or over-layered so your ears don't know what to define or decipher, and there are others that sound raw and like a jam session with minimalist production techniques, and this is just right. I wonder if the snare hits during the E-to-B transition (and drum roll) are supposed to signify war machines and guns, etc., since the song has a lot to do with the subject. They probably got that sound by just recording from the dynamic mic directly under the snare drum.

Yesterday, I was on my break at work in Mc-you-know-where when a girl with The Face walked in. Of course when I say 'The Face' I mean a general type and a passing resemblance, not a 100% replica of the original source, and as I sat there, I couldn't help but smile and just bask in the beauty of it. When I think of that and listen to the song, it just feels great, especially aligned with D major (which the piano likely plays as a broken chord during its part). I've now lost count of how many similar faces that apply to this type I've seen, which says something - they're not uncommon. And perhaps I'm in some way drawn to them, or the other way around. I just know that they literally make my day. What's also uncanny is that of all the girls I've seen that have that kind of round face with dark hair and perfect eyes, about nine out of ten of them have a very similar-sounding voice as well, a voice that is also just as appealing.

This finally leads me to what I'm thinking of doing here, which is a chord-personality thing like the Signature Series I listened to on CBC - where I do a post on each major and minor chord in music (though not the scale). I've got my own deep ideas and alignments and feelings about each chord, some more over others, and I can use differing contexts from songs I've reviewed on here. With that in mind, I'll probably start with C major tomorrow.

On the original subject of the song...
Lyrics: B+
Music: A

My favourite word to use here seems to be 'endearing.' It does mean quite a lot to me, despite what the lyrics talk about, but kudos to R.E.M. Another song that uses E and B (though reversed) is 'Can't Get There From Here' which starts on B, goes to E, then returns to B, but minor. It's nice.

Red Cloud
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